Day 29: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 29: We sometimes wonder how on earth the Jews were supposed to follow all the decrees and laws that were put in place. To make matters worse they kept adding to them and making them even more unattainable. The purpose of all those laws wasn’t meant to have them fulfil them all but to put their trust in a God who would love them. Jesus turned that all in and said love God, love your neighbour, accept my sacrifice and work at telling others about me. Are you focused on rules or are you working on your relationship with God and reaching others?

 

DAY TWENTY-NINE

If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46-47 NIV)

There are some who believe that the Old Testament is irrelevant and not required for Christian living. I make the case that even Jesus knew the Old Testament scriptures were a valued part of His ministry.

In the above verse, for example, Jesus was explaining to the people that if they couldn’t believe the teachings of Moses how were they going to grasp His.

The OT is filled with lots of life lessons, and we do see all the laws that seem overwhelming that were given to the Jews. God gave those to His chosen people to help them to be set apart from the normal. If they lived a lifestyle that God had shown them they would have never been defeated so many times. Their health would have been amazing, their love life with their wives would have been the envy of every outside man. They (and I can only assume this) would have become the greatest nation on earth and would still be around today.

But they didn’t, so Jesus said if You can’t even follow the teachings of Moses, how are you going to follow mine?

Pick up the bible, study a book of the OT, dig deep and see what truths you can find that lead you to Jesus. Apply them to your life and grow.

Dear Jesus, your whole word is important to us. Help me to take time daily reading your scriptures, I ask You to reveal Yourself to me in everything I read.
Amen

Day 23: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 23: Remember the saying “like a man who looks in a mirror, turns away and forgets what he looks like” This is what is happening in our churches. We see what needs to happen yet when we leave the church or meeting we go back to living as we always have. It is time for us to become the people God intended, we need to get to the mission of reaching the lost as Jesus asked us to.

7 March 15

  DAY TWENTY-THREE

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (James 1:22-24 MSG)

I feel this verse sums up today “Christian” culture. We go to church on Sunday, are moved by the worship, touched by the sermon, but if you were to ask us what happened on Monday, we would be hard-pressed to tell you what the sermon was about. Now not everyone is like this.

How often do we actually put into practice what we hear God speak to us about on Sunday? Do we make a valid effort to apply the newfound commitment to purity or was it just a “because I was there” decision?

Three ideas I have to help you stop being just listeners but to work on applying truths into your life.

1) write down the commitment you have made. maybe you have a running list of commitments. Don’t be ashamed of this commitment. Place it in a place that is visible, not only to yourself but for others, saying “if you visit me I am not afraid for you to ask how this list is going.”

2) use the tools available to you to keep yourself on track. If your commitment is to share the love of Christ, but you for some reason are stuck in the house, use FB or Twitter to share Gods love.

3) keep connected with fellow believers. Keeping connected will help motivate you to follow through with your commitments as your friends will challenge you in your faith.

Dear Jesus, enough is enough, we spend too many Sunday’s at church listening then forgetting what we were challenged to do when our feet hit the floor Monday morning. Help us to become doers and act on what we hear, let us not forget who we are. Amen

Day 3: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

 

Day 3 Thoughts

My original thoughts for 50 Days of Pray was to get some outside help from other leaders and ministry leader. I believe I had two actually submissions and a few interested but I understand the busy lives these hard working people have. I hope you enjoy Pastor Mike Millers entry for today. I added a prayer as well.

Today’s Devotional is brought to us by Pastor Mike Miller who Worked at the Rock Church in Lwr Sackville NS. Mike has been busy in launching Nova Church in Halifax NS.

Battle over the Balcony
Why do leaders at the pinnacle of success seem to derail themselves? Rob Ford has become the punch line to every late night TV joke but at one time he had goals and dreams too…what happened?

Bad news gets around the world before good news gets it’s boots on!
This past year there have been a lot of texts, calls, tweets and chats sharing bad news involving moral failures it seems.
Many have involved dear friends or people I don’t know yet respect highly and in either case, my first response has always been one of grief. If you are looking for judgement this isn’t the place, I agree their actions were wrong but they know it and are reminded daily as they rebuild their lives and families.

I’ve been thinking a lot about WHY these things happen and hope to learn, strengthen and provoke myself in the process.

2 Samuel 11 has helped me process this. This is the story where King David should be out at war on the battlefield but instead stays home on the balcony where he sees Bathsheba commits adultery with her and eventually kills her husband.

How did this history making legend go from being on top of the world to his world falling apart

Few things I know

1.Your victories yesterday don’t promise you legacy tomorrow.
David was the same guy he always was. The Same guy who killed a lion and a bear, same guy who pushed past a father who undervalued him to say “is there not a cause?” the same guy who challenged the giants of his day that mocked his faith and persecuted his nation.

2. Timing is everything
“There is not only a right thing to do but a right time to do it” – Abraham Lincoln
2 Samuel 11 vs 1 ” It happened in the spring of the year at the time when kings go out to battle….but David remained in Jerusalem”
The spring time was the fighting season! The season before was rainy which caused impossible conditions for chariots to move in the mud and flash floods washed out roads, the season after was the harvest time which demanded every man to work fields to feed their family and keep the country going. The spring was THE time to fight.

3. When fatigue walks in faith walks out
Vs 2 “David arose from his bed”. It doesn’t say why David didn’t go fight but one would think that decades of fighting, training, being under insecure and violent leadership and then leading a nation himself has to have wore him down. We must learn to rest and withdraw without going AWOL or isolating

4. More leaders are destroyed on the balconies than any battlefield
Psalm 127:4 ” Like arrows in the hand of a warrior so are the children of ones youth” We like arrows are meant to be aimed not stored, to be launched not to lounge. To do anything other than your purpose will frustrate you.
Where have to shelved yourself? Don’t let your leaders or family fight your battle in prayer

5. God takes a mess and makes a message
God still chose to birth His Son through David’s name and legacy, He wasn’t done with David and He isn’t done with you!

Today I choose the battle over the balcony and I pray you do too!

 

Father, we thank you that you are always with us and ready to help us through the mess of this life. I pray that you will keep us away from distractions that will lead us into temptation. Keep us focused on the mission of reaching the lost. Holy Spirit guide us in wisdom and opportunities. The people of this world matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

Day 47: 50 Days of Change

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is hard to fathom why one who has a relationship with God would replace him with something else. But we hear of believers, elders and even leaders walking away from him all the time. One might make the assumption that these believers never truly believed, as some have the notion that salvation cannot be discarded. What has truly happened is these folks have given up their relationship. Somewhere along the line sin got a hold inside and slowly but surely took them down a path away from God. 

God didn’t abandon them, he didn’t leave them, but at some point they left him. They pushed aside the truth and the counsel of the Holy Spirit for an idea that what te wanted was right and for them. One of the startiling things that I see is leaders who drop out of leadership not only abandoning their church but in many case leaving their spouses. This is so heartbreaking as it can be a domino effect on those who admire and have been mentored by these leaders. They should know better but we don’t know what is going on in their lives and hearts.

This is where we as believers are failing each other. If we were more involved in each other’s lives personally we would become more intune to our brothers and sisters needs and troubles. Maybe we would be able to see things in the early stages and cut them off before they decide to walk away from God completely. It would be so much easier if we knew what was going to happen with a time machine, but we pray and hope that the issues we resolve early will allievate any big mistakes down the road. Ultimatly it is between the person and God, but he can and will use us to build each other up, like iron sharpening iron. 

This could be you, you maybe testing the waters of sin and not sure where the undertow is. But if your testing one day it will pull you under. I beg of you ask for help, cry out to God to pull you out now, send brothers and sisters of the faith to help you through this time of confusion. We need to ask for help, push past our pride, se that we are failing and need assistance. What we do with our lives as believers does not only affect us. It affect all around us, don’t be fooled that it’s my life and what I do doesn’t affect others.

Father, if anyone reading this is tempting their relationship with you by flirting with sin, I pray that right now you will show them the consiquences of their actions. Holy Spirit surround them with believers who will hold them accountable in love, building them up and loving them. It is not to late for them to cry out for forgiveness and change their behaviour, let them se that their actions affect others. God we ask that we will be used by you to reach others who may not know you at all or maybe did but have replaced you with something else. Give us the words to speak and wisdom to share with them your love. They matter you you God so they matter to us, amen. 

Day 27: 50 Days of Change

“It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.”‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We don’t know for sure but one might assume that the offering Cain brought was his sloppy seconds. We learn later from Moses that if the Jews were to present a offering of fruit or grains that it as to be the first fruits of the harvest. Maybe Cain noticing that Able was going to make an offering ran back to his fields and hastily gathered the chaff or the fallen fruit on the ground, the bruised neglected and unwanted fruit. Not his best, no thought put into it, he wasn’t prepared. It would have been better if he had not shown up at all.

Are we like Cain? Do we go to church on Sunday because our brothers and sisters are going? Are we going prepared to meet with our saviour, expecting to receive something from him, or do we wake up and rush out the door hoping we make it in time. When the offering plate comes around are you prepared to give your first fruits or are you rummaging in your pocket hoping there is something of value in there to give? If the church is looking for help with a community project do you give your time freely, or do you wait to be asked?

Unlike Cain, Able was prepared. He put thought into his offering to God. This offering he gave wasn’t out of obligation or requirement, it was a choice to worship the God who created him. A man like Able is preparing his heart to do the mission of God. Not out of obligation but because he understands that people need to know Jesus. His time, money, everything is dedicated to the service of God. God get his best, his first fruits. 

Jesus mentioned this himself when he said ‘not all who say Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom’. Many people can go to church, they Can sing the right songs, recite all the readings, stand and sit on command, say the most beautiful prayers and do amazing things, but it is their heart condition that Jesus is looking at. Cains heart wasn’t in his offering, he was only doing it because he saw Able doing it. Able on the other hand was honest and transparent in his offering, he knew what he was doing and who he was worshiping. 

So today I ask of you, are you living like Cain or Able? Following for the sake of following, giving God sloppy seconds? Or are you following because of what Jesus has done for you, preparing and working the mission because of what he has done? Maybe it is time to change.

Father, blessed be your name. From the beginning people have known you are worthy of worship. Show us if we have been giving you our leftovers. We ask for forgiveness if this is the case. We want to give you our first fruits in our time, energy money, family, harvest, our everything. We can only thrive in this world if we give it all to you. Everything else will fall away, help us to give it all to you. Holy Spirit use us to show others the love that Jesus has for them. Let them see that they matter to God and they matter to us. Amen

Day 25: 50 Days of Change

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper ), and to prayer.”‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭2:42‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 All the believers were active in their faith. Their faith was from experiences past on by those who had met Jesus, are with him, fellowshiped with him, listened to his teachings and prayed with him. So if the first believers did this together modelling what Jesus had taught, why should we be any different? 

Yet today their are believers who feel they need to be isolated to be better Christians. Like John on the Island of Patmos, I can serve God alone, I dont need anyone. Well to burst that bbble, John was sent to the island as a prison, to be isolated and sprite from those who the romans understood gave John strength. To be alone is a lonely existence, that’s why solitary confinement in jail is set apart as a prison inside a prison. Humanity requires fellowship to thrive. Followers of Jesus even more so. 

I believe we have lost this in our church’s, sure not all may have lost this, but a vast majority have become to busy with daily activities of live to connect with their church family. Gone or rare are the days of having someone over for a Sunday meal, maybe replace with the convienne of restaurants, yet the intamicy of inviting someone to your home is lost.

 How can we as a church get back to this way of connecting with tour family of believers? How can we break the patterns of apathy and malaise we have created? We want revival and our churches to grow, our strength to do this is in the people who are sitting to our left and right ever Sunday. Teaching one another, praying together, fellowshiping, eating meals including the Lords supper, these things build us up. We encourage one another in these times, we push one another to be more to keep going in the faith. Like an ember in a fire, if outside the main fire it will die out, we need to keep all embers in the fire.

Are you willing to be an agent of Change? It has to start with you. 

Father, thank you for all that you do for us. I pray that as a family we return to the way the early church connected through teaching, fellowship, eating and prayer. Let us not neglect one another, for we are all unique and in our uniqueness you will be lifted up. Help us build one another up, guiding, moulding, and correcting if needed. Holy Spirit burn in our hearts a desire to be a strong family devoted to serving God, and the mission of reaching the lost. Connecting with our family will motivate us to grow our family so we pray that we will see this as you see it. The people outside the family of God matter to you, so they matter to us. Amen